Thursday 15 August 2013

A-Level Results Show Slight Fall in Top Grades

More than 300,000 A-Level students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have found out their A-level and AS results today, and join the scramble for university places.

The results, published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), show that there has been a fall in the proportion of A-levels awarded top grades for the second year in a row, after three decades of steady increases. 26.3% of all entries were given A or A* grades this year, a slight fall from 26.6% in 2012. Previously, the proportion getting top grades had risen each year since 1980.

The national pass rate rose marginally to 98.1%. This has also risen for about 30 years.

Continuing recent trends, more students are taking A-levels in maths and science and there is a continued fall in those taking languages. Maths rose by just under 3% and further maths by 4.5%.

Girls are still ahead of boys when looking at the top grades, A or A* (26.7% for girls compared with 25.9% for boys), but boys this year were more likely to get the A* grade (7.9% of boys' entries, compared with 7.4% for girls).

The university admissions body Ucas has said that 385,910 students have already been accepted by UK universities, 31,600 more than at the same point last year.

The UK government claims its reforms to make it easier for universities to take on the students that they want to recruit have sped up the process of accepting students. Under these changes, universities in England are being allowed to admit as many top-performing students (gaining ABB or more) as they want to. For students with lower results, universities are allocated a quota of undergraduates they can recruit. Last year, thousands of course places were left unfilled.

The change was introduced to allow the most popular universities to expand. It came in alongside higher tuition fees, which rose to a maximum of £9,000 a year from autumn 2012.

Students in Northern Ireland continue to perform best. 83.5% of entries here scored between an A* and a C and 30.7% were awarded the top grades of A or A*. In Wales, these figures are 75.2% and 22.9% respectively and in England 77% and 26.3%.

From 2015 the government plans to introduced major changes to A-levels. The AS-level will no longer count towards the final A-level grade and, with modules being phased out, all exams will be taken at the end of the two year course.

Congratulations to all those who gained the grades they were looking for today - and best of luck to everybody looking for a university place.

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